Level Up: Gamers Going for Gold at Esports Olympics
by Jakob Olsson
This year, the first-ever Esports Olympics Week will take place in Singapore. From June 22-25, some of the world’s best gamers will be going for gold. If you thought playing video games was for couch potatoes, think again. Both national pride and some serious cash are on the line!
Ahead of the Esports Olympics, we’ve looked at the countries that have produced the most world champions, and which Esports titles have provided the biggest hits around the world. Using data, we’ve managed to break down the highest-earning nations when it comes to Esports championships. We’ve also discovered the most popular Esports game in each of the top 50 most populous countries.
Most Popular Esports Game by Country
We looked at the top 50 largest nations and uncovered the most popular Esports games in each country.
It will come as no surprise that the soccer-mad nations of the UK, Italy, Germany, and Spain have FIFA 23 as the most-played competition title. As Manchester City and Inter Milan get ready for the UEFA Champions League final in Istanbul on June 10, you can guarantee gamers will be putting in the hours to get their electronic Erling Haalands and digital Denzel Dumfrieses warmed up on their screens.
Halo dominates Esports in the United States, as teams assemble against each other with six-figure prize pots at stake. The only other country in the world’s top 50 most populated nations where this game franchise is the most popular is Mexico, with Halo 5: Guardians generating the highest competition.
According to our research, the most popular Esports game worldwide is Call of Duty. CoD squadrons formed more than most in Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Ivory Coast, Algeria, South Africa, Iran, Egypt, Philippines, and Pakistan.
Like with Halo, the franchise differs from country to country. For example, Call of Duty WWII is the most popular format in Iran and Poland, whereas War Zone is the most played in Brazil and South Africa.
Ukraine is the only country on our list that has World of Tanks as its top title.
In Russia, Turkey, and Iraq, the most popular game for Esports competitors is PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS.
Canadians prefer Magic: The Gathering Arena for their competition. Is poutine the treat needed for this multiverse strategy?
Golden Joysticks: Biggest Nations for Esports Champions
The Esports Olympics are just weeks away, and it looks like South Korea could be the favorite for the biggest medal haul. They have more than double the number of Esports world titles than any other nation.
The South Koreans have raked in more than $12.5 million in prize money, along with 64 world championships. The top game that’s brought the most titles for the South Korean juggernaut is League of Legends.
Scandinavian countries rank second and third for Esports world titles. Sweden, the nation that brought us Minecraft, Battlefield, and Candy Crush, is second with 31 championship wins. Their neighbors from across the bridge, Denmark, rank third with 30 world championships. The game that has brought the most success to both countries is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Over $2.8 million has been awarded to Denmark, though despite leading the two countries in world championships, Sweden has earned just over $1.9 million.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the game that’s been contested more for world championships than others. Despite 19 world championships, the USA has made more money than Sweden and Denmark combined ($6.9 million).
China has 27 combined world titles, and like in both the Summer and Winter Olympics, they’ll be huge contenders in the Esports Olympics in Singapore. Chinese success has delivered a whopping $16.9 million in prize money.
The strategy game Dota is the format that’s brought the most titles to China. Dota has won over $11 million in championship earnings to Finnish contestants, all this with just nine titles for the European nation.
The Esports Olympics have been open to everyone around the world, with the best of the best invited to compete in Singapore. Contests have been selected to provide some form of athletic challenge, in keeping with the spirit of the Games.
The competition includes Virtual Taekwondo, JustDance, and WBSC eBASEBALL: Power Pros. Could the USA and Japan be fighting for gold with the virtual bat and ball?
So, dust down your controllers and fire up the console because your first millions might just come from your skills with the buttons. Who said you’re too old for video games? They could bring you that medal you’ve always dreamed of.
For this analysis, we collected Google Trends data for more than 50 of the most popular Esports titles in May 2023. Data was collected on a worldwide scale (which returns country-by-country results) for a time frame covering the previous 12 months and narrowed to the 50 most populous countries.
Data on world championship prize money, winners, team composition, and nationalities were collected from Liquidpedia, a Wiki site dedicated to Esports.
Please feel free to use our data and our infographics for any non-commercial purpose. Please link back to this page if you do to give credit to the authors and creators.